Kate Winslet’s marriage to Sam Mendes hit the rocks after they made a movie together about a couple who break up, friends said on Monday night.
Months of stormy rows followed the filming of Revolutionary Road, in which Mendes directed his wife co-starring with Leonardo DiCaprio.
They culminated in a joint statement by the couple confirming they had parted. “The split is entirely amicable and is by mutual agreement,” it said. “Both parties are fully committed to the future joint parenting of their children.”
The actress has a nine-year-old daughter, Mia, from her first marriage to assistant director Jim Threapleton, and a six-year-old son, Joe, by Mendes.
The statement was issued after the actress flew to Mexico with the children while Mendes was with friends in New England.
There were rumours that Mendes had developed a friendship with Juliet Rylance, a British actress who bears an uncanny resemblance to Winslet. She is a member of his Bridge Project company, which finished productions in New York of Shakespeare’s The Tempest and As You Like It on Saturday night.
But this was immediately discounted by a company insider, who pointed out that Rylance is married, and her husband, Christian Camargo, is also in the Bridge Project plays. The insider added they seemed perfectly happy.
A source close to Mendes offered a different explanation, saying: “He became bored working on his latest theatrical project, and he took that boredom home with him. And that led to the spark being taken out of their marriage.”
Mendes and Winslet, both Academy Award winners, were seen as one of the movie world’s golden couples.
The actress had taken the last 12 months off work following her Oscar success in The Reader, supposedly to spend time with her family.
But the pair had not been seen in public together since an appearance at Wimbledon last summer and Winslet had claimed Mendes was at home “babysitting” when she attended the Baftas and Oscars alone. The couple are keen to avoid an unseemly court battle of the custody of their child and their estimated £30 million (Dh166 million) joint fortune.
‘A bit weird’
The friend added: “Kate is devastated. She thought their marriage was for ever and now she has two children from two marriages and both are not living with their fathers.”
During the making of Revolutionary Road, Winslet told how she felt awkward being directed by her husband particularly during sex scenes with her Titanic co-star, DiCaprio.
She said last year: “I just kept saying, ‘This is too weird.’ Leo told me to get over it, but I said, ‘You’re my best friend and he’s my husband. This is definitely a bit weird.'”
She added in an interview: “Going into it, I did have several moments where I would say, ‘Oh my God, what if we have a row? What will we do?’ And Sam would say, ‘Oh, don’t be silly, of course we won’t.’ And I was thinking, ‘Oh, well, I’m sure we won’t I hope we don’t.'”
Mendes, who has a long history of dating beautiful women, including actress Rachel Weisz, before he wed Winslet, admitted there was “some kind of identification” in the film. He said: “I think that with any interesting art there is always some kind of identification to be had.
“We are very happy, but obviously there is a cathartic aspect of making a movie about a bad marriage.”
A source close to the couple added: “Things were extremely rough to say the least recently. Things went downhill after Revolutionary Road.”
Winslet and Mendes married in 2003 during a holiday in the West Indies. Just three friends were there, and her daughter. The actress claimed: “To me, love is when you meet that person and you think, ‘This is it, this is who I’m supposed to be with.'”
Kate’s quotes that hid the heartbreak
“Thank you for directing this film [Revolutionary Road], babe. And thank you for killing us every single day and really enjoying us actually being in such horrific pain. But I can honestly say with my hand on my heart that I loved every single second of working with you and it’s made me love you more.”
— March 2009 as she won best actress at the Golden Globes
“I’ve got a great husband, and beautiful children, and I have a job I love, I get to realise a lot of my dreams and aspirations.”
— January 2009
“I woke up in the middle of the night after we’d met and I had this feeling in my stomach. I just knew what it was. I didn’t want to stop being with him. I know categorically I’m married to the right man. I feel understood by him, completely known. And I get the enormity of what I’m saying, which is why I’m so grateful.”
— December 2008
“Nobody knows the real Sam and I do… What can I say? He’s my husband. He is brilliant.”
— April 2004
“We’re very happy, unbelievably happy. It’s one of those unexplainable things that we’re together.”
— June 2003, after their marriage
A £30m partnership
Kate Winslet: worth £20m
Her latest films, Revolutionary Road and The Reader each earned her around £2-3 million.
As the face of Lancôme’s Tresor perfume and Renergie skincare lines she has also made £1 million over three years. She was also part of a multi-million pound ad campaign for American Express in 2005.
Last year the UK Film Council estimated she was worth £60 million to the British economy. Her largest pay packet was £6 million for the 2004 drama Finding Neverland.
Sam Mendes: worth £10m
He has a stake in his production company Neal Street Productions. The last film Mendes directed was Revolutionary Road, for which he was paid £2 million.
He is in talks to direct the 23rd 007 film this year. The project could see him earn in excess of £5 million.
Homes: Together they own a £6 million eight-bedroom manor house in the Cotswolds and a triplex apartment in Manhattan, now worth in excess of £4 million.